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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  February 17, 2010 12:00pm-1:00pm EST

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>> rose: welcome to the broadcast. tonight we'll get an update on the war in afghanistan where this weekend it was reported coalition forces arrested a top taliban military commander. we begin with the report from kabul with dexter filkins of the "new york times." >> he's pretty much the... you know, the army chief of staff. i mean, this is the... this is pretty much the commander-in-chief. he can be overruled by mullah omar, but my understanding is that that doesn't happen very much. so i think it's pretty important. but then i should say on the other hand, the taliban is... i mean, this is a very kind of horizon movement. you know, people... he gives only very general direction to the war. so i... i think the taliban's going to go on but i think it's going to be... i think it's going to be greatly damaged by this. >> rose: we continue with a discussion about afghanistan and pakistan with hassan abbas from
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columbia university and seth jones from the rand corporation. >> my guess is-- this is my calculated guess-- that pakistani intelligence and the military has a fair amount of idea where this guy is. they at least use their contacts whether haqqani or somebody else, in making? this possible that this seems to be an arrest. but this is an arranged cylinder. >> i think what will actually be particularly important over the long run is actually not so much the military operations but more the political operations and the development aspects and especially on the military side. what you see when you go to marjah is that it's controlled by a range of noorzi and other mostly pashtun tribal and community leaders. and so the key issue will become the cooption or coercion of these key power brokers. >> rose: we conclude this
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evening with anne kornblut, the white house correspondent for the "washington post." her book, "notes from the cracked ceiling," looks at the role of gender in the 2008 election. >> itasn't until sort of halfway through the palin campaign when i started to talk to people and to realize, you know, we've had these two women at the national level, we all think they have nothing in common, they certainly don't when it comes to ideology or style but in some of the treatment of them, they do have something in common which is that we react differently to female candidates. so that's when i set out to write it and to really examine what we learned in 2008 and what the experiences of other women are. >> rose: an update on afghanistan surge and the capture of a leading taliban figure plus arthur anne kornblut ♪ ♪
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if you've had a coke in the last 20 years, ( screams ) you've had a hand in giving college scholarships... and support to thousands of our nation's... most promising students. ♪ ( coca-cola 5-note mnemonic ) captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. the "new york times" reported this weekend that the taliban's top military commander mullah baradar was recently captured in pakistan. baradar is said to rank second only to mullah omar, the founder of the taliban. the capture resulted from a
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joint operation by pakistani and u.s. intel invasion and a major test of general stanley mcchrystal's counterinsurgency strategy. joining me now on the telephone from kabul, afghanistan, is dexter filkins of the "new york times." he co-wrote the story of baradar's capture over the weekend. i am pleased to have him at this important moment. >> tell me what you think the implications of this are, dexer? >> baradar is the guy that runs the taliban. he chooses the military commanders, he gives overall direction to the war. i mean, he and what's known as the quetta shura, but he's in charge of the shura. so he's... he's pretty much the army chief of staff. this is pretty much the
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commander-in-chief. he can be overruled by mullah omar but my understanding is that that doesn't happen very much. so i think it's pretty important. but then i should say on the other hand the taliban is... i mean, this is a very kind of horizonal movement. people... he gives only very general direction to the war so i... i think the taliban's going to go on. but i think it's going to be greatly damaged by this. >> rose: might it lead to mullah omar? >> it could, it could. that's a very good question. i heard something a couple of weeks ago that was very striking to me, which is that omar and baradar haven't actually met in more than a couple of years. they're both so concerned about getting caught that they... you know, they don't get... they don't stand in the same room together. so they pass messages back and forth.
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so it seems unlikely but this, i think, is probably some of your listeners know the "new york times" had the story about four days before it ran. and we held that at the request of the white house, he held the story. and one... their argument was is that there was... you know, they had a very effective intelligence operation that was going on. and, you know, we thought about this very hard and didn't want to jeopardize that so we sat on the story for a while. >> rose: did it come from the president? >> i don't think so. i mean, i think it came from, say, people on the national security council who were, you know, very... i mean, they were very excited, i think, about... and very encouraged by this rest and i think a lot was coming out of it. but then it... i think what happened was that apparently
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they managed to pick up baradar without a lot of other taliban knowing about it. and i think... i'm speculating a little bit here, but i think they found something on baradar, like they often do, a laptop computer or a cell phone. and so they were able to kind of figure out who he knew without other people figuring out... without the taliban figuring out that the americans were doing that. and so... but over the last couple of days, this really started to get out. we started hearing from other people. our employees in pakistan and afghanistan started to hear that baradar had been arrested. so my understanding is the white house didn't object anymore. they said "look, we understand this is getting out." >> rose: so they had a chance to do sort of an intelligence rollout to make sure that they got all the information before anybody knew that they him? >> yeah. i mean, information and people. everybody's being so secretive about this one that i don't
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know... i don't know... well, i don't know many details beyond which we printed in the paper. and that would include who else they've picked up since baradar was arrested. i just don't know. >> rose: are the taliban denying it rohr they confirming it? >> well, they're denying it. in fact, we called the taliban spokesman, it's a guy who goes by a... he has kind of a no, ma'am de guerre, m mujahid, which means holy war. and they're denying it flatly. now, we're sure of the story. i think either the taliban... some of the taliban don't actually know about this because baradar is so secretive about his whereabouts that they actually didn't know and are only coming to figure out that he was picked up. or it's just been a... it's a very... it's a very hard blow to
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them. and i think they're trying to put the best face on it. >> rose: how did it happen? how much cooperation between pakistanis and americans to make this possible? >> my understanding was it was a joint c.i.a./i.s.i. raid. i.s.i., of course, is inner service intelligence, that's the pakistani military intelligence network. you know, this thick has been, i have to say, i mean, i've been covering this place in pakistan for a long time and i've never seen anything quite so secretive as this and in pakistan, you know, i kind of joke by saying there really aren't any secrets in pakistan because this sort of thing leaks out so quickly usually. they can't keep it secret. but in this case there's been virtually nothing has come out. and it's... and that alone makes it really extraordinary. but we just don't know a lot of details about how the raid came
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about. did the pakistanis come to the americans and say "hey, we know where he is"? or was it vice versa? i think we'll probably find that out pretty soon but not yet. >> rose: the great fear has always been that i.s.i. would tip off the taliban or there would be some kind of... because of previous relationships that they would... would not be totally forthcoming with what they were doing. >> absolutely. i mean, absolutely. the i.s.i. helped create the taliban back in the mid-1990s. they've never really severed that relationship. and, of course, this has been a source of great tension between the united states and pakistan because, you know, at the same time that pakistan is publicly proclaiming its support for the united states, the people in i.s.i.-- many of them very secretly-- have been... but some of them not so so secretly, have been supporting the taliban. so the pakistani military and
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government have been playing a double game for a long time and so it's been the overriding goal of american policy has been to bring that double game to an end. and i think what the americans say these days is that the pakistanis seem to be coming around. that they realize that the taliban is not their ally, it's their enemy. and, again, i think that's going to take a long time just because some of those relationships, as you mentioned, some of those relationships go back a long time and so they're hard to break. >> rose: so let's turn to the marjah offensive. what's the goal? what should we be watching for in the next several days? >> i think they've got a few more days at least of pretty hard fighting. of course, i'm not in marjah, but my colleagues chris charles rivers and tyler hicks are there with the marines. i spoke to chris tonight. they actually had a quiet day. he's with the first marines, the
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16 battalion kilo company. and they... the first couple days they were very, very intense for them. they had a lot of fighting all day long. now, today was the first day that wasn't like that. and i... but i think their concern is that... is that as the combat and as the gun fighting starts to trickle off, you're going to see a kind of a different war and i think one that we're... the type of which we're all more familiar with here, which is i.e.d.s, mines, booby traps, that sorts of things. the americans estimated that there were several hundred i.e.d.s buried in this area. and i think that's proving to be true. i think they've found a ton of them everywhere. and i know that when i spoke to chris he said that when they came in-- and they came in by helicopter, but as they've tried to fan out and go on controls they think they're finding more and more of these things.
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>> rose: this is a test of general mcchrystal's strategy? >> yeah, it is. it is. it's a big test. i mean, this place has been the taliban sanctuary, the main one, for years, marjah has. and i think the first objective is to take that away from the taliban but i think when general mcchrystal has said repeatedly is the fighting is going to be... as hard as it is, the fighting is going to be the least important aspect of this. the most important is going to be what comes after. which is to try to put something there, an afghan government. he called it a government in the box, but got ready to go, close to 2,000 police officers, a civil administration, a governor. all this stuff is kind of waiting in the wings because the history of this war-- and it's eight years old now-- is the americans and the british in
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helmand province, that they go into the villages, they clear them of taliban, they leave, they don't leave anything behind so they come right back in. the taliban flow right back in and months later or years later the americans and the brit vish to go in and clear them up again they have a phrase for it, they call it mowing the grass. and i think that the goal now is to stop that and to do something and to put something in place that's enduring. >> rose: dexter, thank you so much. that's an extraordinary time over there and you, as always, are there to witness and report. so i thank you very much for taking time to talk to us. >> thank you. thanks very much for having me. >> rose: dexter filkins from the "new york times" in kabul, afghanistan. two major events coming out of there. one, this offensive, and secondly, the capture of the number-two man in the taliban. we'll continue to follow this story. back in a moment.
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>> rose: we now continue our discussion about afghanistan and pakistan. joining me in new york, pakistani professor hassan abbas who currently teaches at columbia university. he previously served in the police force in pakistan's tribal areas. from washington, seth jones with from the rand corporation, he recently returned from afghanistan where he was advising the u.s. military. i am pleased to have both of them here. i began here in new york with hassan. how did they do this is my biggest question? how did this happen? >> i think this is a staged thing. i think this is arranged surrender. this is my guess, calculated guess. the reasons for the guess is he's very important in the senior hierarchy of the taliban leadership. he was 2 in karachi, a big city where some people were moved
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previously from quetta to karachi. he had... this is a group which has good relations within elements within pakistani intelligence and military. so i think this is part of a larger... this larger piece process, so to say, or negotiations going on with taliban. this should be seen in that larger picture because all of a sudden there's this secret raid-- i have my doubts. the reason is if this would have been seen as a surrender or a person giving up his position and joining hands with the pakistani/u.s. karzai government it would have been seen as a humiliating thing. this would have been counterproductive, the person would have had no support among the people. now he's arrested... this is a theory. he's arrested, he collaborate, help, become part of the process of engagement with the karzai government because he had previously given such hints. so i think this is something in
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between set up or staged, arranged surrender. >> rose: okay. but do you not believe it would have been possible to simply have arrested him? that they did not have sufficient cooperation with the i.s.i. and sufficient intelligence to do this? >> that was also possible. after all, in 2004, we had picked up people from... of al qaeda from karachi. there were other people, khalid sheikh mohammed, so yes, it's entirely possible, a collaboration between u.s. and pakistan government can lead to such good results. but under these circumstances when this engaging reachout to taliban is taking place, a person who is second in the hierarchy, i have my doubts. maybe i'm reading too much into it, maybe i'm reading too many conspiracy theories but i think there's a chance this is an arranged thing. >> rose: and the most important reason you believe that it's a
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coincidence is all the talk about getting the taliban to give themselves up in part or negotiate in part. >> exactly. >> rose: seth, what do you think? >> well, i think it's too early to know right now. that theory's certainly possible. we do know, for example, that mullah baradar is the same tribe as president karzai. there has been an innate interest by the president to reach out to mullah baradar in particular along tribal, subtribe, and clan lines. but as to whether this was really a reconciliation issue or whether it was more of a targeted raid is still unclear. we don't have that information yet. >> rose: why do you think... two things. one, why is the taliban denying it? >> well, it's fairly common, especially early on we've seen this with buy tuul la meshud.
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for to deny until they, a, get finality on it themselves and, b probably find a replacement for him so that they can ultimatelye story for several days? >> well, i think the primary reason that it appears they asked the times to hold the piece was because much of the senior taliban leadership was not aware of it yet. so they were hoping that they could continue to get information from him and monitor activities while senior taliban leaders were not aware. because once much of the inner shura realized that he was either captured or he reconciled it was pretty clear, i think, they were going to>> rose: and e benefit for the intelligence that they get, hassan? >> that will be of huge
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importance. the reason is that abdullah baradar is the person who distributes money. he's the one who had written the previous pamphlet, the final book let for taliban insurgents saying how to avoid civilian casualties, how to focus on their targets. so he's the person who is strategizing, so who was their tactical commander, who is giving money to the people, who is the link between mullah omar on one side and the beam on the ground. so the intelligence that will come from this interrogation will be of huge importance, i think. >> rose: will it lead to mullah omar. >> that becomes a little irrelevant also, i think. >> rose: irrelevant? >> irrelevant for one reason. mullah omar, i doubt he is the one who's actually running the show of pakistani taliban and afghan taliban. yes, he has a position, he's important. but from all the profiles we have seen of mullah omar, there's very little that we know from him. but he's that bigoted hard-liner
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extremist person who perhaps is not relevant when negotiations will start. so if it leads to mullah omar, well and good. i doubt it will. >> rose: what possibilities are there for negotiations? >> the possibilities are that we'll be able to talk to those people within afghanistan who are insurgents who will be given the title of taliban to everyone who's in afghanistan, which is not true. so maybe there's some locals who were previously coerce bid some groups. they will be ready to talk. people like baradar who belongs, as mr. jones rightly said, from the same tribe karzai formed. if they're able to create this this disconnect between the hard-liner narrow minded taliban of 1994/2001 and this command and control system which runs insurgency and engage somehow those who have lived in afghanistan... forget about mullah omar, haqqani, these are the people who can change their minds. >> rose: i want to talk about ur
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way, too, in marjah. what do you think of that, seth? >> well, marjah sits along the central helmand river valley. so it's part of a population-centric strategy. in addition, marjah's particularly important because of its strategic problem similar toy lashkar, the largest city in helmand. there have been u.s. marine corps operations across this area since the summer of 2009. this is not the first area that they have tried to go in and clear. i think what will actually be particularly important over the long run is actually not so much the military operations but more the political operations and the development aspects and especially on the military side. what you see when you go to marjah is that it's controlled by a range of noorzi and other mostly pashtun tribal and community leaders. and so the key issue will become
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the cooption or coercion of these key power brokers which the taliban are trying to target as well. so i think this is a average length of a counterinsurgency is over a dozen years. so, you know, in the marjah case months, years for us to see this to fruition. >> rose: how do you see the war going? >> the war was going bad lift taliban were gaining more strength. the insurgents were attacking more areas. this marjah operation will be very critical because we'll be able to show on the ground that yes, this is possible with military support, with some coalition building within that region. if we are able to clear this area, this will provide a window of opportunity. because there are many other marjahs in that region as well. a lot depends on pakistan also. the pakistani military, which i
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think has taken a big shift by supporting this reconciliation, and this is maybe a dividend of the cooperation that pakistan military is now giving. because there's apparently some understanding if indians say... the indians say that taliban should be given a second chance, it means that secretary gates was able to talk to india, was able to talk to the pakistani military and what we are observing in afghanistan is the coordinated policy, which is a positive development. >> rose: so therefore the pakistani will now focus more on the taliban? >> they will focus more on taliban if... because their approach, their offer that that will... they can play a role in biging some taliban because they're being listened to. also a very important thing is that currently in pakistan there's a lot of debate whether the two important generals will get military extensions in the service. the i.s.i. chief and general kayani, the chief of the
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pakistani army. they are both professional generals. i think they're committed to this war and it's also... the timing's very good because last week this wasn't the main news headlines in pakistan, these two generals getting extensions in service. it means that there's more cooperation perhaps. so there are various ways to look at these events. >> rose: i thought general kayani was very popular and had the support of almost everybody. not true? >> yes, this is true. he has won over some hearts in washington, d.c. also. >> rose: clearly. >> in pakistan, also, he's seen as a liberal progressive person who's committed to war on terror. he military or is it the state department or whom? >> well, it's a combination of organizations. i mean, really it is a
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civil/military plan that cuts across both the afghan government and nato forces. so in the marjah case, for example, this is a combination of the u.s. military negotiations with locals as well as state department provincial reconstruction team individuals. on the afghan side, this is also afghan national army. and then provincial and district leaders. but i would just note that part of the discussion on governance in this area has tended to focus primarily on central government when, in fact, this is a quintessential pashtun area. and so i would just caution that many of the pashtuns in helmand, across kandahar and other parts of this area are still leary of a very strong central government role and permanent presence in their area. so if this effort is conceived
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primarily as central government, extension of the central government to these areas, i actually think locals are not going to respond particularly positively to that. planned it. >> well, that seems to be the case so far. i mean there was an effort to reach out to about 400 key tribal and community leaders in the marjah area. but then the question becomes how much does the central government try to control what goes nonmarjah over the long run? and what i'm saying is that's a little less clear. because there have been some public comments about taking a "government in a box" and referring to the central government and putting it in place in marjah. that's got the potential to be really unfortunate. >> rose: what do you think about
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this in terms of the governance from either the national government or from local government and the ability to convince the local people that they're not being dominated by the national government. >> i think first there has to be a recognition that the last eight years of so-called nation building failed. >> rose: right. >> and then all of a sudden we started saying, okay, state building. then the karzai government's corruption and incompetence is so obvious it also should be recognized that rather than investing in police or law enforcement in afghanistan-- which can counter and monitor militants-- we are investing in a military. are we investing the same amount in the civilian bureaucracy which will establish the writ of the state? if we want to build another military state with where a general takes over ten years from now, if that's what we want to do, that's the way to create
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a national coalition, that's a flawed policy. yes, you're absolutely right. empowering local people, providing them the opportunity, creating some more economic activity for the ordinary afghans rather than keeping afghanistan as a state. unless we recognize those previous failures, i doubt there will be change. >> rose: beyond governance, another aspect of general mcchrystal's strategy, it is to limit, minimize civilian casualties. >> that's been a key aspect. it's been pretty clear with public opinion polls conducted by the asia foundation and other organizations that one of the many factors that has been contributing to taliban and other insurgent support of the last couple of years is civilian casualties caused by nato forces especially from bombs dropped from airplanes. what's been interesting, though-- and we saw reports of the unfortunate killing of afghan civilians over the
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weekend in the marjah area-- is the u.n. report released in january of 2010 indicated that insurgents are causing about two-thirds of the civilian casualties the until afghanistan right now and that nato forces are causing a little bit less than a third and then there's a small percent that's just unclear. and further more that nato caused casualties decreased by about 20% from 2008 to 2009 levels. so when mcchrystal came on board in 2009, there was a major effort to decrease civilian casualties and i think that's been reflected in the data that the u.n. and other organizations have collected because it's very a very important part of counterinsurgency efforts. >> rose: another part of counterinsurgency always to make sure you bring in the troops... the afghan troops.
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are clearly part of this mission? >> well, the afghan national army-- including its commando element-- have tended to perform decently well in a range of operations both from direct action to general cordon and search operations. as was pointed out, the afghan national police that's been particularly problematic in a range of cases. we've seen them take bribes at checkpoints, topd stay in their police stations, grow poppy or marijuana. but very strong levels of incompetence. and so i think part of the key concern is increasing the performance of the police on the ground which tend to be very important during counterinsurgency efforts. and second, there do appear to be a range of areas from shin
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worrys in the east to some of the noorzi communities in the south of local communities that are willing to resist the taliban and other insurgent groups. so these are really the village level. >> rose: exactly. let me close with this. does this, perhaps, perhaps the capture of baradar suggest that is there's a new level of cooperation with... between pakistan and the united states that might very well lead to a greater effort against al qaeda? >> yes, i think... even i would argue against al qaeda, even previously there was good cooperation or better than the one in case of taliban. pakistan was always... the military was trying to keep safe some of these taliban leaders. if that has changed, that is a very good sign. and and we know some cooperation is taking place behind the scenes. and this arrest tells me that things are moving in that
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direction. bargaining will continue to happen. >> rose: the same thing to you, snet. >> yeah, i think the pakistani/u.s. cooperation on al qaeda has been pretty good over the past several years. i think there has been an increase in cooperation, particularly against groups that have threatened the pakistani state. we've seen actually helpful u.s. assistance along the border up in bar injury during pakistani operations in 2008. in south waziristan the u.s. did reach out to assist on the intelligence side in pakistan's operations in and around the key south waziristan centers. this would then indicate the potential for increasing cooperation against the afghan insurgent groups. and, of course, there was also assistance in targeting buy toula meshud and a range of the taliban pakistan. so i would actually say that there has been over the last
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year or two baitullah a progressive increase in pakistani u.s. cooperation among a range of different militant groups. >> rose: now is that because of zardari or is it because the american military, admiral mullen, has been over to see them at least 15 times. >> both, i think this transition to democracy in pakistan played a very important role in this. the military never went inside swat valley. the political support that was brought about by zardari and the pakistani people's party, the secular party of the pashtuns, i think the political foundation made a difference. musharraf in those last two years was come plit kating things and at the same level, at the same time, this simultaneous parallel situation i think has been a... one of the best things that has happened in terms of cooperation between both
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countries. >> i think it's become very clear to both the americans and the pakistanis that the range of the militant groups do present a threat across the region. >> rose: exactly. >> so the increasing number of attacks in islamabad, in raul pin diin a range of other locations has legitimately threatened key security agencies in the pakistani state. and there needed to be a response. >> rose: so what are you going to be looking for now when you watch the progress of what's happening in afghanistan and watch the progress of this cooperation between pakistan and the united states. >> well, i think one thing that i'll be looking for is local response. i mean, again, the key focus is the local population. do afghans in the central helmand valley and in kandahar province feel safer? are they able to travel around more easily? is there a staying presence from
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the afghan government? have they been able to turn a range of tribes, subtribes, clans and other communities against the taliban and haqqani network? and second, when it comes to some of the command and control of insurgent groups on the pakistani side, especially haqqani network and the mullah mohammed omar's taliban, ours... as the senior leadership continues to be captured, that isirag haqqani, mullah sakir. in that sense we'll be able to see whether that cooperation over the long run really is not just a one-off case but actually consistent over time. >> rose: do you agree? >> i agree but i think without regional cooperation which this would not happen. yes, some tactics within
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afghanistan may provide fruit or may succeed. unless india and pakistan are on one page about their interests in the region, china is just next door. if we are thinking of nato and u.s. 5,000 miles away that we have a responsibility and an effort is being made to change things in afghanistan then neighbors who are right there, don't you think they'll have an interest? i think unless there's an understanding and agreement reached between the original powers we may not find sustain peace in afghanistan. >> rose: thank you for coming. great to see you. thank you, seth, very much. >> thank you. >> rose: we'll be right back. anne kornblut from the "washington post." stay with us. as the counterdown to the academy awards continues, we bring you another oscar moment. >> you know, like a lot of guys,
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sort of rounded and sort of defeated and kind of... and he decides to start... he quits his job, he starts working out, starts smoking grass again, buys the car he's always wanted. some people have referred to it as a mid-life crisis that he goes through but i actually... i don't think what he's going through is a crisis. i think what he's going through is a rebirth and a re-evaluation of who he is and what's important in life. and because of his particular journey, he then forces the people in his life-- both his wife, his daughter, and others-- to take their own journeys that are equally important in their lives and almost everyone in the film ends up at a different place from where they began. >> rose: anne kornblut is here, she has worked at the nation's top newspapers and is now the white house correspondent for the "washington post." her new book is called "notes from the cracked ceiling," hillary clinton, sarah palin, and what it will take for a
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woman to win. it looks at the role of gender in the 2008 campaign and the political landscape for female politicians across the country today. i am pleased to have anne kornblut back on this broadcast, welcome. >> thank you so much for having me. >> rose: when did you set out to write this? >> late in the process. >> rose: right. >> i covered the clinton campaign from even before it existed in 2006 until the day it ended two and a half years later and then we took a little break from covering the presidential campaign and when sarah palin came on the scene, started to cover her. it wasn't until sort of halfway through the palin campaign when i started to talk to people and to realize, you know, we've had these two women at the national level, we all think they have nothing in common, they certainly don't when it comes to ideology or style, but in some of the treatment of them, they do have something in common,s that we react differently to female candidates. so that's kind of when i set out to write it and to really examine what we learned in 2008 and what the experiences of other women are. and once they both had lost to
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ask how long is it going snob it is right around the corner? which everyone thinks it is. or can we be skeptical here and say it might be a little ways off, which was the conclusion i wound up drawing. >> rose: how were they treated differently? >> well, both of them were treated like odditys from the day they arrived on the national scene. you remember when hillary clinton was first lady she couldn't sneeze without making headlines. everything she did, when is she tried to push the envelope of being a first lady a little bit it made headlines, it drew scrutiny, it didn't always help her husband's popularity. so that was a kind of ferocious reaction to her when she was first lady. as a candidate, a lot of it was the same. she couldn't do anything without it drawing extra attention. now, a lot of that was because she was a front-runner and because she was a clinton but some of it, too, i think was because she was a woman. sarah palin, same thing. everything about her, all the coverage was larger than life. and for both of them being a woman... i don't think it's the reason they lost. but in the coverage of it, being a woman just infused every
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single story about them and with sarah palin it was different, the questions about her children her family, was her fifth child everyone hers, that was one of the first things right out of the gate at the convention, is it hers? so all of that, i think, really messed with the minds of both of these campaigns and they didn't know because there was no role model for how you run a woman for president or successfully for vice president. so they were just struggling everyday, how do we respond for our candidate who's a sfwhopl. >> rose: was it unfair? >> i think in total they certainly felt it was unfair. i'm not sure all of it was unfair. i don't think asking tough questions is ever unfair-- male or female. and as one of the reporters who was out there covering them day to day, i was among the people asking tough questions about them. i do think some of the dismissiveness-- not so much in the interviews but in the commentary. because people were actually fairly deferential to them in the interviews. whatever you might think of the
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katie couric interview... >> rose: i remember the conversations abouter in the beginning was that she was inevitable. >> absolutely. >> rose: that seems not unfair. >> no. but early on there are comments about the cackle and so... most of the avalanche of what i would say might be seen as unfair criticism of hillary clinton came in that period after she lost iowa and the floodgates sort of opened and there was a lot of mockery of her and encouraging her to get out of the race and dismissiveness. i have a chronicle in the book of some of the things said on cable about her. almost never to her face. the times when kids stood up in an event and said "iron my shirt" it was rare example of that kind of thing. mostly it was behind her back and on t.v. >> rose: what lessons should we learn? >> i think lessons probably for campaign managers everywhere would be that it's tougher and you can't go into this blindly. the mccain campaign, not a single woman was a part of the decision to pick sarah palin and they thought, oh, 18 million women voted for hillary clinton, this will be easy. it's not easy.
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>> rose: the whole other aspect of this... i think former president clinton feel this is and clearly was evident in some of the things he has said was not that it was because she was a woman so much as because if you compared the coverage to president obama to secretary of state clinton in the 2008 campaign it was much harsher on her than it was on him. >> it was harsher and there was an appreciation of the history makingness of his campaign that did not exist for her as much. i mean, i'll tell you, i remember going to cover the two of them when they marched in selma. they did the historic march with john lewis, there was no corollary march in seneca falls for women. >> rose: right, right. jup >> and when barack obama won the iowa caucuses, his own speech was "they said this day would never come." the coverage was all about "we never thought this would happen." in fact, an african american had won a primary before. this was not that his store that i can this that sense. when hillary clinton won new
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hampshire, almost nobody talked about the fact that it was the first time a woman had won a primary. it was all "clinton's making a comeback, can she turn this around?" i think that sense he had a point. >> rose: but you also said that you think it might be a while before we have a woman to win. >> well, as a practical matter when you ask the question, okay, is the country ready? everybody says sure, theoretically we're ready. who? well, if you look at 2012, the only person that we're talking about-- and i think we would know for sure who was actually going to run by the beginning of 2011-- is sarah palin. >> rose: nobody said anything about gender when it came to the question of secretary clinton being secretary clinton. >> that's true. and she's the third woman to be a secretary of state. >> rose: right. >> that's absolutely true. that's an appointed job and i think it's... the challenge for a woman is going to be to get elected to run a campaign in the media spotlight and glare for three years or whatever the length of a presidential campaign is now. it's about three years.
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you start with the primary process. >> rose: we know from "game change" the book by mark hal person that she thought about running in 2004. would it have been different if there was no barack obama running that whole historical narrative and she would have had that? and let's assume she would have been competitive for the nomination. would it have been sflent. >> it's such a tantalizing scenario to imagine, her being able to potentially knock out john kerry in 2004 and run. i do think that she could have claimed history a little more. although i think it's tricky and her campaign struggled with this. for a woman to say "i'm running because i'm a woman. " she never wanted to say that. in fact she said that. >> rose: obama didn't want to say that either, did he? >> but there were a lot of cues when he was run sayinging this would be historic. to the speech i quoted "they said this day would never come." i think there's something to that. >> rose: let's take secretary clinton when she was senator clinton. she wanted to be on the senate
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arms services committee, she wanted to develop gravitas about national security issues. she was considered to the right, voted for the war. considered to the right of senator obama. >> and we can't disdhunt much of that is who she is. she wanted to be an arms services. she is probably more hawkish than he is by nature. >> rose: even today it looks like that way. >> but strategically, politically, women-- and she ice one of them-- but women across the political spectrum have found that in order to survive and succeed in politics at the national level or at the higher level, governorships, they have to be tougher. they have to prove that they have crossed... >> rose: tough on crime, tough on national security. >> absolutely. prosecutors benefit from this. this is the margaret thatcher model and that's a lot of... we know from mark penn's memos, a lot of how she modeled herself. but she's not the only one. >> rose: when people consider sarah palin, do they consider the fact... is it more about her experience or her gender? >> i don't know how you can
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separate the two. i think it's probably about both. i do think were it not for being a woman the experience questions might not be so ferocious. they may be legitimate, but we've certainly had men run who seemed to have thin resumes on the surface who turned out to be... you could argue that obama as a state senator and then becoming a senator for a couple years, that was a thin resume. now she didn't help her cause by quitting the alaska governorship. but i interviewed many, many strategists for women candidates across the country, people who've run for governor, for senator, they all said "women just have to prove that they're qualified more than men do no matter what the race is." >> rose: we used to have a thing in terms of... politicians and people who covered politics, we call it the tom bradley rule which is suggesting when polled people would say of course i'm going to vote this way but when they got there there was a hidden vote against an african american. is there a hidden vote against a woman because of jender? >> the bradley effect. yeah, i remember that. there's not... there's no evidence that we saw from this last election that people were
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deluding themselves and saying they were willing to either vote for an african american or a woman in some of the exit polling. but we haven't seen in the a general election with a woman at the top of the ticket so i think it's hard to know. i mean, you can about the about the democratic electorate. but we haven't seen a woman as a nominee of either party so it's hard to know. i think there might be something to that. however a lot of... from talking to people who run focus groups, a lot of the challenge is among women voters. so it's not just that men say "i'm not going to vote for a woman." >> rose: how does that play itself out? >> i'll give you an example. when jennifer granholm was running for governor of michigan there were women in focus groups who would say to her strategist "she's too beautiful. how can she do all this, be b that beautiful and be smart enough to be a governor?" so they changed the way they did her ads. they had been doing regular television ads with her in full color. instead they shot her in black and white still photos and just showed those still photos so that it lent some gravitas to the ad and then the women in the focus groups said "o.k., i buy
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it now." >> rose: when you look at the issues that people look to in terms of defining women, what can we look to and point to and say ah-ha, there's something that proves my thesis. >> people still expect women to be strong on domestic policy. that's something that nancy pelosi as the house speaker has made, i think, work to her benefit. she's worked to elect women. but she's also had to fight to say women can do national security. i think that one has been slower in coming. >> rose: what can we say about margaret thatcher, indira gandhi golda meir. who else? >> now we've got angela merkel. michelle batcher will. there are women who run as center right figures around the world and there have been women who run in parliamentary systems so they're winning within their caucus in the way nancy pelosi did. so to some extent i don't think we can extrapolate the foreign experience here.
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but what's interesting in s in a couple countries, liberia and iceland in particular you've had count these have fallen apart either through civil wartor economy and they've elevated women after those experiences. so we may... who knows, if things get dire here maybe that will be something a woman runs on in the future. >> rose: they may be better prepared to run when the economy is in crisis. >> perhaps, or if war is still an issue or some other unforeseen crisis, god forbid. >> rose: the way to campaign... the way the campaign handled it, specifically with senator clinton, now secretary clinton. were they good about it? were they smart? did they treat you well? >> you mean the press? >> rose: yes. >> they, i think... >> rose: did they bring any of them this on themselves? >> yes, and they would admit that. they ran a very tough press shop. they were hard on reporters. >> rose:? why. >> i think they were formative experiences were both in the white house, the battlefield of the white house and then her running in the new york market,
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this tough new york media market. and i think when they got out into the national press corp there was still a combative relationship between w the press that didn't help them. but they had a lot of problems, that's only, i think... they had a lot of financial problems, a lot of strategic problems. i think that was only one of many problems. >> rose: when you look at women in politics in america today, tell us who they are. >> well, in terms of who might run, back to the question of who might run in the future, about i interviewed a lot of these people for the book, but claire mccaskill from missouri is very ambitious and tough and smart and i think could conceivably run for president. amy chrob char from minnesota is another tough one. she's now the senior senator from minnesota. chrob sharr. and japd is also... >> rose: she's had a you have to job. janet napolitano. so there's three democrats who i think are interesting. megawhitman, watching her race in california is very
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interesting because she's got all the... >> rose: running for the republican nomination for governor. >> yes, so that governor's race, she's, i think, another one to watch. there's house members. i had a fabulous interview with debbie wasserman-schulz who talks about what it's like to be a woman in politics. >> rose: what does she say? >> she runs as a bhopl. when she runs for reelection she is proud of the fact that she's a mom. she doesn't hide the woman stuff or worry. she tells a great story about a republican rival who during a debate one time the congresswoman reached into her bag to get a pen and instead got crayon and her republican rival said that was evidence that she was frazzled. and she turned it around and said "actually, no, it's evidence i'm a mom and i am never without a crayon. i may be without a pen, but i'm never without a crayon." >> rose: let me turn to your general coverage. what do you think of the way president obama is doing today? >> he's obviously-- putting on my white house coverage hat-- he's obviously had a hard year.
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and i think... >> rose: why do you think it's been that way? what did they... what assumptions did they snake what miscalculations did they make? >> i think they thought it was going to be easier, especially on some national security issues. i think they thought it would be easier to do things they talked about on the campaign because there seemed to be a national consensus to close guantanamo, to try people in civilian courts. i think they thought there was a political consensus where there wasn't one. the case they wanted to put in new york, they didn't see it was a political problem. >> rose: it's amazing that somebody can be so good about politics in a campaign and apparently not so good in governing understanding the political element of governing. >> and i think they believed, as previous presidents have, that just good policy is enough and perhaps haven't always taken into account the political necessities that go with that despite having so many political forces within the white house. but, you know, their argument would be that they had a long way to fall because the expectations were so high they were never going to be met. i think they hope it's going to
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turn around soon. >> rose: michelle obama. >> fascinating. >> rose: tell me. >> she's... she has... she spent the first year being the mom in chief. >> rose: right. >> and i think being the really reassuring force in that white house. so if president obama was elected to bring about change, she was there to be reassuring and stable and she was the mom raising the two kids and doing that job but also projecting an image. >> rose: there's no doubt about her strength in that relationship, is there. >> none whatsoever. but what's going to be interesting is s to watch her over the course of the next year now that she has this childhood obesity initiative to maybe come out of hershel a lilt more, maybe do a little more policy. and on a couple of occasions we've seen her talking about the issues of the day. when president obama talked about a budget freeze across the budget spending she talked about the fact that military families were still going to get the spending they needed on that same day. so that's a different use of her which i think will be very interesting to watch. >> rose: "notes from the cracked
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ceiling: hillary clinton, sarah palin, what it will take for a woman to win." anne kornblut, thank you. >> thank you so much. >> rose: great to have you. >> thank you for joining us. see you next time. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh ♪
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